Summary: This sermon deals with our need to let go of past things in our lives in order to move forward in God. Lot suffered because he would not let go.
Moving Forward--Letting Go Of The Past.
Is there anybody here who has held on to something that had a special meaning to you and nobody else quite understood why you just would not throw it away? I had a blue and gold football jerseys, number 62, that had one time been a game jersey from the all black high school I went to in Ga. The school was Oconee High School and the mascot was the Trojans. I grew up as a little boy wanting to play for the Oconee Trojans. The other school in the city was the all white school. It was called Dublin High School and their mascot was the Fighting Irish.
When integregation came to the school system, Oconee was shut down, and a new school was built for both Blacks and Whites and they took a color from each school so that the colors were green and gold. But the name of the school was Dublin High School and the mascot continued to be “The Fighting Irish.”
Those of us who had been Oconee Trojans had a hard time with the new name. As a school we could all cheer for Dublin, but if you mentioned, “The Fighting Irish”, you were treading on thin water. Early in the school year, we were having a confrontation in the hall way, and somehow all the white students were on one side and the blacks were on the other and somebody starting yelling The Fighting Irish. We responded with a call for the Trojans.
That erupted into a fight among the students in the hallways, that spilled out into the courtyard, and ended with police and tear gas on the front lawn. For the remainder of the year, there was policemen on every hall way and no one could gather in any halls. Even the doors were taken off the bathroom stalls. I hated going to that school and eventually went to New York to play sports and to graduate. I realize now, that my unwillingness to let go of the past contributed to my miserable year at the school. I held on to that number 62 jersey for years as my link to a past that was fading away. But the link had blinded me to see the school through only one set of eyes.
By the time my younger brothers reached high school, they proudly called themselves the Dublin Fighting Irish and they had more winning seasons than we did because they were united in purpose. They did not allow the past, to pull them back into conflict with each other. Sometimes longing for the way things use to be, can rob us of the new experiences God wants us to have today.
We are in the series Moving Forward. Last Week Pastor Toby looked at Forgiveness and Healing. This Week’s Part 2 is “Moving Forward, Letting Go of the Past.” There are times that if we are to move forward we have to look around and see if we have chained ourselves emotionally or physically to things or people that may hinder us in our walk with God. Jesus did not say, “Hey you, stand right where you are and be my servant.”
Jesus was more along the lines, “Hey you, stop where you’re going and come follow me.” The whole idea of coming to follow Jesus, means you are going to have to let go of what you were doing and pick up on this new plan or direction for your life. Jesus is always calling us to move in a direction of getting to know who God is and the incredible amount of love that God has for every person. Jesus calls us to follow him, because He knows that left to ourselves, we are going to hurt ourselves and a lot of other people in the process. Jesus is not calling us to come follow him in order to make our lives miserable. He’s calling us to come follow him so that we can truly have life.
One of the things about the Bible is that it is an honest book that tells life as it really is. It records the good, the bad, the ugly and the down right disgusting, because that’s how our actions are at times as human beings. That does not mean that God approves of all that is in the Bible, but God does record it all so that we can see how great our need for Him truly is. Today’s passage is so far from being politically correct, that very few sermons are preached on the text.
For background information for those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, let me tell you who we are talking about. Lot was the nephew of a very famous man in the Bible named Abram also called Abraham. God had called Abraham and his wife Sarah to leave the land they had grown up behind and go to a new country that he would show them. When Abraham left, he took along with him his Nephew Lot and Lot’s family.